Hope among the wreckage

Things are bad right now. Some of it’s just the stuff that’s always bad this time of year: it may be an unusually mild November, but the days are still getting shorter and the nights are still getting longer, and it feels more and more unnatural to drag ourselves out of the warmth and comfort of our beds in the morning. Some of it’s the stuff you can read about in the news: the government’s constant attacks on workers and the unemployed and the disabled and travellers and women and everyone else, the state’s sickening violence in Tahrir Square and elsewhere. And some of it’s the stuff that doesn’t get talked about in the news, the way all of this makes itself felt in our own lives. For those of us in work, it’s getting irritable at our loved ones in the morning for no good reason other than that it’s the morning and we’re having to rush ourselves through the process of waking up too quickly so we won’t be late for work; it’s having to be polite while we’re talked down to by managers who’re watching us to make sure we don’t do anything other than the same mind-numbing task over and over again; it’s travelling home trying to remember what it feels like to feel fully human, trying to get out of our bad mood so as not to inflict it on anyone we care about, knowing we can’t stay up too late because we need to get up and repeat the whole thing again tomorrow. For those of us who scrape by on benefits, it’s trying to work out whether we can afford to buy the slightly-marked-up stuff in the local shops or whether it’s worth trudging the extra ten or fifteen minutes to the big Tesco where everything’s dirt cheap; it’s the nagging worry that we’re recklessly living beyond our means whenever we go to the pub or have a takeaway; it’s endlessly applying for shit jobs, trying to work out how anyone could possibly write an application that’d make them stand out from the crowd as being better qualified than anyone else to stack shelves. For pretty much everyone, it’s knowing that the next electricity bill is going to come one of these days, and it’s going to be terrifying when it arrives. And it’s the dark little voice in the back of our heads whispering that there’s one way out that’d solve all our problems for good.
But, despite all this, we shouldn’t despair. Alongside the unreported misery of daily life, there’s another set of overlooked stories: people are taking on the things that ruin our lives, and winning. In South London, a pub that was refusing to pay wages owed to a former employee caved in before the campaign had even really started. And Sheffield IWW report that they were involved in successfully stopping an eviction today. As yet, there doesn’t seem to be much in the way of a full report of either of these cases; hopefully, there’ll be more detail available soon, unless there’s good reasons to keep things quiet. Either way, both of these stories are worth bearing in mind as proof of one simple fact: we can win. And if we can win in the little things – and, of course, things like wage theft and evictions are only “little” from the perspective of the international class struggle, if you’re the person they affect then they mean the whole world – then we can win in the big things. We can win again and again until the economy, that strange invisible force made of markets and stocks and shares and debt that somehow became a dictator over the entire planet and demands constant human sacrifices, is utterly annihilated. These things are worth bearing in mind as we make the final preparations for the strikes next week. Oh, and if you want to make it a hat trick, it might be worth getting in touch with the HR departments for Brunel University and the OCS cleaning company, to keep up the pressure on them.

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About nothingiseverlost

"The impulse to fight against work and management is immediately collective. As we fight against the conditions of our own lives, we see that other people are doing the same. To get anywhere we have to fight side by side. We begin to break down the divisions between us and prejudices, hierarchies, and nationalisms begin to be undermined. As we build trust and solidarity, we grow more daring and combative. More becomes possible. We get more organized, more confident, more disruptive and more powerful."
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One Response to Hope among the wreckage

  1. Pingback: Yet more proof that direct action gets results. | Cautiously pessimistic

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